Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Richie Sambora “Aftermath of the Lowdown”


Bon Jovi’s better half returns with his long-awaited third solo album, “Aftermath of the Lowdown”. No stranger to dramatic highs and lows in his personal life, Sambora throws lots of emotive lyrics into his work. This time around also features an unexpected pairing with power pop legend Roger Joseph Manning Jr (Jellyfish), who plays keyboards on the record. Other notable contributors include guitarist Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney) and Elton John’s longtime songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin.

Things get off to a sizzling start with some outstanding guitar work in “Burn The Candle Down”, but the song is unfortunately ruined for me with the use of heavily distorted lyrics. Why a singer as talented as Sambora would chose to disfigure his voice like this defies logic. But the next track and first single, “Every Road Leads Home To You” is a terrific soaring modern rocker that sounds like Coldplay after testosterone injections. But even this is not as good as the upbeat rocker “Nowadays”, which features beautiful chord changes and an instantly memorable chorus you’ll want to sing all day. “Learning How to Fly With a Broken Wing” is another engaging anthem among the rocking tracks.

After a mighty peppy first half, the back half of the record is predominantly filled with balladry, but this is a specialty for Sambora. Among the most inspired, I would cite “Weathering the Storm” and the midtempo “Seven Years Gone”, which features one of his best vocal deliveries this time out. The album closes with a short Bowie-styled lullaby called “World”. Sambora sings “World, we don’t want you to end”, which is pretty much the same sentiment I had regarding the record at this point.

“Aftermath of the Lowdown” is a top quality rock album with a 50/50 mix of upbeat tunes and ballads. The album is a quantum leap into the modern rock era. Sambora is in excellent form on all levels – as songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist. Shame we don’t get to hear his solo efforts more often, but I guess that other band keeps him pretty busy! :)

Richie Sambora – Official site.

Check out the video for “Every Road Leads Home To You”:

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